Well Pal. The summer is basically over. The kids are back in school, there is a growing chill in the air every morning as the sun takes longer to rise the than I would like. Its all over man. September 21st is just a formality at this point. At least NFL football has started. It was a good summer. I learned a lot. Well, five things…
….ehem cough list! cough ehem…
The 5 things I learned this summer….
1 – my five year old is better than me at Chess and I am really trying to win.
2 – Two week vacations are the best and I regret not figuring that out sooner.
3 – The simple act of slapping a frisbee into a can is absolutely exhilarating.
4 – Altruistic behaviour is still a human trait and I am thankful for that.
5 – The best summer album of 2013 was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.
For now let’s focus on the last one shall we?
Those slick robot headed music makers. I have been a fan of Daft Punk for a while now. They provide the right amount of high-end tasty electro-cheese for me to spread on my Triscuit. With RAM, they have taken that cheese to a whole new level. It is more aged and refined. Much more to chew on. I had to go get some ham and rye out for this album. Not the crappy ham either. Got to be the good Westfalian ham. I love every delectable bite. Of course, they wrote the defining 2013 summer anthem Get Lucky. Great song, but, the entire album is the real treasure. If you want to read a really great review of RAM that is full of insight, musical interpretation, and interesting facts about the making of the album check out Mike Richardson’s review on pitchfork.com.
He does a great job of placing the Randon Access Memories at the level that it deserves. If you don’t want to bother and are content for a mediocre synopsis full of lazy joke attempts, keep reading.
Lets start with the opener, Give Life Back to Music. Maybe the the most joyous electric disco song ever. If you are not compelled to dance to this song every time you hear it, you should go see a doctor because I think you might be dead inside.
Next song is The Game of Love. Turn the lights down low for this one. A sexy song about love lost. The sound is ripped straight from Herbie Hancock’s late seventies vodocor phase and would fit right in with any song on Herbie’s “Sunlight” or “Feets Don’t Fail Me Know”. A slow groove of a song that makes you want to hump the chair you are sitting in.
Next track is Giorgio by Morodor. The same 16 bar progression repeated. Although it’s masked under different arrangements that blend in and out of each other and escalates in intensity, starting with Giorgio talking about how he came up with the click track rhythm in the late seventies when he was looking for the “sound of the future”. An homage to electronic music’s roots.
My name is Giovanni Giorgio….
The repeated progressions vary from straight up electro pop; to a fusion of funk and jazz; to an arrangement with strings. It culminates with a cacophony of drum explosions and guitar riffs. It’s like the best electro jerk session you ever had (assuming you had one).
There is a lot of collaboration on RAM. Tracks with Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, Pharell Williams of Pharell Williams, Todd Edwards of Todd Edwards and Panda Bear of Animal Collective. The nuttiest/best one is Touch with Paul Williams. I looked him up as I did not recognize the name. Holy crap! I totally remember this guy from my childhood.
As far as I can tell Touch is about a sentient robot who has the sense of touch but can’t figure out or can’t process its feelings.
Touch, I remember touch
Pictures came with touch
A painter in my mind
A tourist in a dream
A visitor it seems
A half-forgotten song
Where do I belong
Tell me what you see
I need something more
Or at least that is what I want it to be about. Very dramatic. almost musically theatrical in nature. I am not a musical theatre guy, but when it is about a robot addressing his feelings, I am on board. The song breaks into a jaunty party groove and then slows down into this reflective cosmic feel.
If love is the answer you’re home
Then it is back to dramatic declarations about Touch.
You’ve almost convicted me I’m real!
Fantastically ridiculous. This is a standout track for sure. I think it embodies perfectly the intent of RAM as a whole. Or at least my projected intent. Honest with a hint of silly, and most of all thoughtful. Very much like Rush, they are pure. And you know me. I AM A PURIST!
A prediction. This album will be on most of the “Best of 2013” lists. It is truly a complete and well crafted album (five years in the making) and deserves to be recognized. I suspect the Grammies will want to hop all over RAM as well. This may hurt its crediblity in some eyes (mine included), but, you gotta give the gramophone givers a nod. They loved Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. Another fantastically complete album.
So, thank you Daft Punk for providing me with the soundtrack to my 2013 summer. I had a great time and it was all to your amazing music. I laughed, I travelled, I played, I spent gobs of time with my kids, I vigorously celebrated with friends. Most of all I irritated my wife as I belted out Touch at the top of my lungs. I am going to miss you.
You’ve given me too much to feel!
Well Pal. That’s it. What was your summer soundtrack? Did it involve robots?
I hope so.